S. Qiouyi Lu is a writer, artist, narrator, and translator; their short stories have appeared in Strange Horizons and Daily Science Fiction, and their poetry has appeared in Uncanny and Liminality. They are a 2016 graduate of the Clarion West writers workshop. Visit their site at s.qiouyi.lu or follow them on Twitter at @sqiouyilu.
Hello everyone! The migration to WordPress is now complete; everything on the front end should be the same except for some minor aesthetic changes. If emails to the arsenika.ink domain bounce, please feel free to copy our alternate email address at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m still in the process of replying to submissions from the last two submissions periods and will have all responses sent by December 31. I will be transitioning to either Submittable or Moksha for future submissions to streamline the process for writers and editors alike.
Thank you for your patience. I’ve had a lot of disability and personal circumstances that have caused delays with Arsenika, but this transition should help get everything back up to speed.
When the world around us is dark, it’s difficult to find the motivation to produce art. Yet art is one of the things that sustains us through hard times—art can fight back, offer us a moment of calm, connect people across places and time… With that in mind, I’m proud to present Issue 2 of Arsenika, which offers work that’s both challenging and magical, that shines in spite of—or perhaps because of—the difficult times we live in.
Hamilton Perez’s “The Scarecrows’ Daughter” offers an desolate picture of power and control, of blood magic and the choices we make. “Only the Trees” by Marina Berlin echoes those themes while illuminating the delicacy of life and personal relationships. “two am” by Kiara E. Bell offers a moment of beauty, a glimpse at the ethereal in something otherwise ordinary.
“Homebrew Wine Recipes for Favourable Effects, from the Regrettable Life of Mrs Poulman” by Matt Dovey makes use of a creative format to tell a life’s tale with a happy ending, while Brandon O’Brien’s “The Metaphysics of a Wine, in Theory and Practice” contrasts two modes of approaching intimacy. Finally, Hester J. Rook’s “Sealskinned, Crowned” is a luscious, sensory delight that captures a vivid scene.
I hope you’ll find something within these pages that resonates with you and helps you keep going when things get tough. As always, we appreciate your continued support, and we’re glad to have you here.
The response to the first submissions period for Arsenika was massive—we received over 800 submissions from more than 35 countries. Many of the pieces were excellent, and it was difficult to make the final decisions. But ultimately we culled the issue down to the six pieces here, with authors representing five different countries.
Laurel Amberdine’s “Reflected Across the Dark” is a glimpse into a world devastated by a supernatural phenomenon; Tlotlo Tsamaase’s “Mirror, Reflect Our Unknown Selves” underscores the themes of sisterhood that Amberdine initially explores while commenting on beauty standards and personhood. “White Herons” by Lana Bella is gorgeous, a delight of complex imagery and grace.
L Chan’s “Praying to the God of Small Chances” offers us a different window into a loss that hasn’t yet come to pass, that might not come to pass. “the lagahoo speaks for itself” by Brandon O’Brien offers a voice to the monstrous, and “if ink could flow backward” by M. Darusha Wehm is our first interactive piece, one that speculates on possible futures, alternate presents.
All of the authors in this issue have done a wonderful job of taking the broadness of the term “speculative” and spinning it in their own ways. From the global scale of “Reflected Across the Dark” to the intimacy of “Praying to the God of Small Chances,” the authors in this issue each bring their own perspectives to their stories that make them their own.
As we continue to grow, I hope to keep prioritizing diversity both within the stories and among the authors. We thank you for all the support you’ve shown us so far and hope you enjoy this issue.
Mary Oliver’s “The Uses of Sorrow” opens with the parenthetical “(in my sleep I dreamed this poem)“—I could say the same for Arsenika: the magazine grew out of a literal dream that then became steadily more concrete.
Issue 0 collects a range of poetry and prose to give a guideline for what Arsenika is looking for: words that shine and shimmer; emotional arcs that leave you breathless with the punches they deliver. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for humor or lightness; it’s more of a know-it-when-you-see-it quality, an element of otherworldliness that lingers after you’ve finished reading the piece.
Our flash fiction for this quarter includes the gorgeous piece “Letter From an Artist to a Thousand Future Versions of Her Wife” by JY Yang, a meditation on loss and longing across the whole of space; and “Not an Ocean, But the Sea” by Nino Cipri, a lighter piece that nonetheless conveys a vast sense of wonder even in the space of a single apartment.
We feature four poems in this issue: “The devil riding your back” by Nicasio Andrés Reed takes us across earth-shattering moments, whereas “Speaking Language” by Betsy Aoki offers a quieter resistance. “Jupiter of Jupiter” by Lora Gray takes us again to space and its majesty, while “White Bread Mother” by Kate Lechler brings us back to earth with its clear yet haunting imagery.
I’m starting Arsenika small, just a handful of poems and a couple pieces of flash fiction each issue, funded out-of-pocket by my one-person team. In time, I hope to grow the magazine so that we can pay pro rates for fiction and poetry. You can help us reach our goals by subscribing to our (http://patreon.com/arsenika)[Patreon] or (http://arsenika.ink/support)[making a one-time donation]. Back issues are also (http://arsenika.ink/archives/issues/)[available for purchase] in ePub, mobi, and PDF formats.